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Nebraska...Our Towns

Nebraska...Our Towns

Barada -- Richardson County

"Indian Cave," northeast of town, photographed in 1914. Also called "Barada Cave," it is part of Indian Cave State Park. [Arnold]
Morehead's State Bank in Barada, 1906-32. John Morehead became Governor of Nebraska in 1914.

The only "Barada" in the world (according to the World Book Atlas) is nestled in the hills of northeast Richardson County on what was the Half-Breed Tract. Under the Prairie du Chien Treaty of 1830, land was given to the outcast "half-breeds," primarily the progeny of Indians and French trappers and traders. Since they did not conform to either the laws governing Indians, nor assume the full rights of their fathers, the missionaries requested that a separate area be given to them. The land chosen was along the Missouri River bluffs, considered to be "too steep and tree-covered for farming, fit only for hunting."

Antoine Barada (1807-1885) received a patent on 320 acres of land in 1856. His father, Count Michael Barada, was a Frenchman who had been employed by the United States Government as an interpreter. His mother, Laughing Buffalo, was a member of the Omaha Tribe. Antoine had great strength and was called the "Mighty Paul Bunyan" of the area.

The town of Barada was not a "river town," as the Missouri is over four miles away. Nor was it a "railroad town," as the nearest tracks were at Shubert, six miles over the hills. Popular opinion has it that Antoine Barada operated a fur trading post, and the settlement which developed nearby was named for the Barada family. A post office was established in 1877.

In 1900 Barada's population was nearly 200. At that time there were two blacksmiths, three general stores, a hardware, a drugstore, a telephone office, a physician, a barber shop, a dance hall, a school, a bank, a canning factory, a photograph gallery, and a saloon.

In 1993 there are 37 residents, 16 of them children. Now there is only a grocery-feed store, and a sawmill.

Area residents who gained prominent positions are:

-- John H. Morehead, teacher, merchant, banker, governor of Nebraska, and a member of Congress.

-- Henry Gerdes, member of Nebraska legislature and member of the Board of Control of State Institutions.

-- Louis Buchholz, farmer, secretary of agriculture, county commissioner.

-- Byron Dunn, who started as errand boy in the National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln, and advanced to president of that institution.

-- David D. Houtz, the first postmaster in Barada and thought to be the first teacher, was a merchant, and served as Richardson County Superintendent of Public Instruction 1882-84.

Barada had a Woodmen of the World Lodge, chartered May 26, 1896, but inactivated on April 21, 1920. During the 1920s and 1930s a Women's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) met in homes of members and stressed total abstinence from alcohol. Susie Williamson was an organizer and leader. The "Wabeno Club," organized in 1924, was active until the mid 1940s. This ladies afternoon club had lessons on various subjects, literature, and household helps.

The Barada Boosters 4-H Pig Club was organized by Carl Mangold in 1923. The members were: Jacob Arnold, Harlan Bollman, Edwin Herbster, Elliot Spickler, and Cleon Wamsley. In 1926-27 Myrtle Zurbrick led a 4-H girls' sewing club which met in her home.

In 1927 the people decided to organize as a village. Forty-eight adult residents signed the petition, which was carried to Falls City by trustees, H. H. Zurbrick, B. A. Timberlake, Jacob Peters, Arthur Prosser, and Tom Ludwig. The Richardson County Commissioners heard their request, and the plea was granted. The primary purpose for incorporating was so the Iowa-Nebraska Public Power Company could provide the community with electricity. There was a great celebration when the lights finally came on.

In 1930 teachers Arleta Boatman and Fern Dunn organized the "Plucky Lucky Sewing Club." The members were: Florence Duerfeldt, Dorothy Miser, Twila Prosser, Carmetta Sailors, Darline Sailors, Eula Sailors, Margaret Sailors, Opal Sailors, Merna Vice, and Maxine Williamson.

In November 1960 the Ladies Sewing Circle was organized in the Methodist Church parsonage. Meeting weekly, their specialty is hand-made quilts. In addition to serving for special occasions and funerals, they hold an annual Lord's Acre Sale.

The Barada post office closed in 1966, but the town board meets monthly in the city hall to carry on the business of the town called Barada.

Florence H. Arnold, Rte 3 Box 92, Falls City, NE 68355